Drivingandining regulars know that I’ve decided to feature some of the tasty (and sometimes surprising) foods you can buy from concession trailers, carts, or counters. If this is your first visit, welcome! Check out some of my other concession obsessions: the hot dog cart, the corn dog, funnel cakes, and others.
The Big Pretzel
The big pretzel falls into that special category of food that always tastes purchased from a concession stand and enjoyed while sitting outdoors. Or course, you can stand and enjoy a big pretzel, but it’s a lot harder to dip it into hot mustard. And a big pretzel without hot mustard is just not right.
Originating in Europe, the pretzel is a popular American snack. They can be purchased in the smaller, harder variety (sticks, pretzel-shapes, circles) at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, etc. The larger variety is available at concession stands, shopping malls, and from street vendors all over the country. The average American eats 1 1/2 pounds of pretzels every year.
The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, was “first commercial pretzel bakery in America” (founded in 1861). It is still operating and they also give tours. For more pretzel history, visit their website.
The Best Big Pretzels in America
Philadelphia is so well known for its pretzels that it is called “The Big Pretzel.” It used to be the home of the Pretzel Museum (sadly, now closed). Their most widely available pretzels are from the Philly Pretzel Factory (available at locations in several states on the eastern side of the U.S.).
Nestled in the mountains, with skiing in the winter and moutainbiking in the summer, Leavenworth is worth a visit any time of the year. They call themselves “the most outstanding Bavarian Village this side of the Atlantic.” I visited during the winter for their Christmas markets and it was beautiful (warning: make sure you have snow tires and/or chains if you are visiting during the snowy season). Check out their webcam if you want to see how beautiful it is there right now. If you are heading there this month, you can enjoy some traditional Bavarian food and drink and then watch an outdoor live performance of the Sound of Music.
Twist It Up!
Watch this video if you want to make your own big pretzels or if you are just curious to see how they are made.